The Division of Student Development provides services to students and potential students to assist them in their overall development academically, professionally, personally, emotionally, and intuitively. These services include, but are not limited to, the following services:
Counseling and Career Information – As part of the mission of the College and toward the goal of enhancing student development, the College provides assistance in the areas of vocational, career, personal, and social concerns. In addition to rendering counseling services through appointments, the Center also provides walk-in or open door counseling services, as well as crisis counseling on a 24-hour basis. Counselors also have contacts with mental health providers in the community for referrals. Additionally, through the College Website and social media sites, distance education, current, and prospective students can benefit from services that are rendered by College counselors and advisors.
Finally, located in the Counseling and Career Information Center is a collection of current resource materials on careers, occupations, and undergraduate programs at other colleges and universities, along with information on graduate school programs. Further, the Counseling and Career Information Center offers testing services, which include individual, placement, and specialized assessment testing.
Academic Advising Program and Academic Advisement Center – In order to promote the student learning experience and enhance student development, all students at the College are assigned faculty advisors based upon their declared major. With 10 Division Chairs, 62 full-time faculty members, and 4 counselors serving as academic advisors and one academic advisor for the Fairhope and Gulf Shores campuses, students are able to receive the individualized attention needed to launch their academic careers and remain on track to reach their respective goals. Equally as significant is that the system of advising students helps to foster a mentoring relationship between advisors and advisees, as students retain the same advisors throughout their tenure at the College. However, the exception occurs when students change their programs of study across disciplines, which would require a change in advisors to better serve students. All advisors hold regular office hours and may meet with students at other pre-arranged times. Also, all advisors may be contacted by telephone or e-mail. To further bolster the College’s academic advising program, students are welcomed and encouraged to visit the Academic Advisement Center, which is staffed by knowledgeable counselors and advisors, located in the McGowan Student Annex Building. These staff members can help students obtain their educational goals through a collaborative effort. They assist students in choosing majors and planning programs of study to meet their goals. Additionally, the staff of the Academic Advisement Center provides expertise and advice to faculty advisors, as well. Finally, through the College Website and social media sites, which are staffed, maintained, and monitored by College counselors and advisors, distance education, current, and prospective students can receive academic advising and responses to their questions and issues in a timely manner.
Advisors in the Associate in Arts (AA) and Associate in Science (AS) degree programs work with their advisees in following the Statewide Transfer and Articulation Reporting System (STARS) guides when developing students’ schedules. The STARS program was established by Alabama Legislative Act 94-202 and signed into law by Governor Folsom on March 17, 1994. When students complete STARS contracts, they are guaranteed that the coursework taken at the College will transfer to any Alabama public university or four-year institution, as well as participating private institutions. This program is consistent with the College’s mission of providing each student with the opportunity for professional growth and student development through its transfer program. To transfer to other institutions, the advisor and student consult the college catalog of the intended institution. The Dean of Student Services serves as the official College liaison for the STARS program to assist students who encounter problems with the transfer of credit. Division Chairs serve as mentors for newly hired faculty members, as they learn the advising process employed by the College. All advisors are required to attend the New Student Orientation Big Bash Day of activities.
Placement Assessment – As an important key to student retention, Alabama State Board of Education Policy 802.01 requires that all institutions within the Alabama Community College System use one of several assessment instruments to direct students into courses appropriate to their skill levels in mathematics, reading, and written composition. The College employs the ASSET placement test for this purpose. All new students are required to take the placement test, unless they are waived, based upon a list of exemptions found in the College Catalog and Student Handbook.
GED Program – Toward the fulfillment of two of the College’s institutional goals of providing community programs for adult education and making its facilities available for educational purposes, the College offers both a GED Preparation Program and Special Testing for the High School Equivalency Diploma. These services are provided by independent divisions and departments. Specifically, the Director of Adult Education supervises the Adult Education Department, which is part of the Division of Workforce Development and Technology and is supervised by the Dean of Workforce Development and Technology. The Adult Education Department presently provides free classes at seven different locations throughout Baldwin County. In addition to classes being offered during the daytime and evening hours, classes are also available through the distance learning media.
Via the process of obtaining a GED diploma, after students complete the GED Preparation Program, they are scheduled to be administered the GED test. The State of Alabama has designated the College as a test center for the General Education Development (GED) test. The Special Testing for High School Equivalency Diploma or GED is administered by the Division of Student Development, which is supervised by the Dean of Student Development. Although it is recommended that students participate in the GED Preparation Program prior to taking the GED test, persons may take the GED Test regardless of any previous preparation or education. Upon successful completion of the GED Test, the Alabama Community College System provides students with one college course at any college within the two-year college system at no cost to the student. The course is processed as a waiver via State Board of Education Policy 805.03.
New Student Orientation – All new students are required to attend the New Student Orientation session prior to registration at the College. This is referenced on pages 220-221 of the College Catalog and Student Handbook. Consistent with the mission of the College, the purpose of the New Student Orientation is to acquaint students with the educational programs, instructional strategies, campus locations, facilities, distance learning opportunities, services, and staff of the College. The Division of Student Development coordinates the New Student Orientation Program, as well the summer mini-advising sessions, along with key College personnel including the President of the College, the Dean of Student Services, the Dean of Federal Programs, the Dean of Instruction, Dean of Technology and Workforce Development, the Coordinator of Technology Services, the Director of Student Activities, Athletic Director, the SGA President, and other student leaders. Students are given copies of the most current College Catalog and Student Handbook, along with copies of the current course schedule, as items of materials included in their packets of information. During the New Student Orientation session, the following topics are covered:
- Contact Information for College Personnel
- Parking and Security Information
- Financial Aid
- Catalog Term
- Statewide Transfer and Articulation Reporting System (STARS) Guide for Transfer Students
- Reading Class Schedule
- Types of Degrees at the College
- Student Degree Plans
- Registering for Class
- Finding an Advisor
- Disciplinary Rules and Regulations
- Tutoring and Other Special Services for Students
- Student Activities
Also, students are informed of the many activities that occur during the year on the various campus sites (Intramural Sports, Welcome Week, Miss Faulkner State Pageant, Spring Fling, etc.). It is felt that these activities add to the total college student experience and enhance student development. Following the New Student Orientation Big Bash Day, the College sponsors a picnic style luncheon session for new students and their families to meet the President, the Deans, Division Chairs, faculty members, and staff. Immediately following the picnic style luncheon, academic advisors are available to register students and Deans and Division Chairs are available to help students with any problems they might encounter. In addition to the New Student Orientation Big Bash Day, the College sponsors five mini-orientation and registration sessions during the summer. These sessions are designed to provide students with important information about the College and the planning of their educational goals in small group settings. Approximately 1200 students participate in the summer mini advising and registration sessions.
The Success Center – The College operates The Success Center, which is located in the Division of Student Development, as a learning center for students. It serves as a learning laboratory that provides academic support services that help students to improve their basic skills in English, mathematics, and reading. A variety of instructional and tutorial services is available to the student free of charge to enhance student success. The Success Center is equipped with computers, printers, and a wide selection of software. In addition to the Success Center, learning laboratories are strategically located throughout the campuses.
Job Placement – The College’s Job Placement Office serves as a liaison between the College’s students and employers. A JOBS bulletin board is located inside the College Success Center, and job announcement boards are located on all campuses. Also, the College continues to assist graduates in securing employment in the job market, as it has for the past twenty years, via efforts by the Division of Student Development. Specifically, the aforementioned division mails out Job Placement Application Packets to graduating students during the spring semester of each year. After students return their completed packets to the aforementioned Division, applications are then matched with available jobs in the “Job Bank,” which remains current with job announcements. Finally, the College sponsors a Job Fair annually each spring semester at the main campus whereby students meet local, state, and federal employers to discuss employment opportunities. In addition to efforts by the Division of Student Development to assist students in gaining employment, technical faculty and staff members provide assistance to graduates in their respective disciplines, as well.
Job Placement Application Packet
Early Alert System Program (EASP) – In an effort to enhance retention, the Division of Student Development designed and implemented the College’s Early Alert System Program. The purpose of the program is to identify students with potential problems and to provide some type of intervention at the beginning of potential problems. Specifically, faculty and staff members refer students to Counselors in the Student Development area when they observe classroom or campus behaviors that could possibly indicate that students are struggling and might be in need of some type of intervention. Such clues include:
- Student fails to pre-register for the next semester.
- Student requests a transcript to be sent to another institution.
- Student fails to respond to his/her financial aid award letter.
- Student’s attendance in classes is erratic or student has stopped attending classes.
- Student displays a sudden, dramatic change in behavior.
- Student earns an average below a “C” at any time during the term.
- Student refers another student.
Immediately, the Counselors make contact, via e-mail, in-person, or by telephone, with the identified students to determine their needs and provide services to assist them. Counselors complete a contact report, identifying the potential problem and recording what type of appropriate action was taken. A copy of the report, which is filed in the Division of Student Development’s file, is forwarded to the referring faculty or staff member.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Services, via the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, are provided through the Division of Student Development. These services are also in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The College’s ADA Program is designed to ensure that students with disabilities have the programmatic and architectural access needed for successful integration into college life. Students with disabilities are provided with the “Criteria for Disability Documentation”, which was adopted by the Alabama Community College System and implemented by all institutions within the System. Also, students are provided with the steps for filing an ADA grievance, which is contained in the College Catalog and online. Records of accommodations, documentations, and requests for accommodations made by students with disabilities are maintained confidentially in individual student files in the Division of Student Development.